So let me tell you a story… first. Actually it is a fact; our Detroit Relations team of one, Kristin Myers is A) and amazing person and B) solely responsible for our perpetual forward direction in the great city. If it were not for her we would not have found the incredible opportunity with Mitch Albom to put a Notes for Notes® Studio in the new S.A.Y Detroit Play Center. Kristin, we are honored that you are a part of the team and forever grateful of your zeal and persistence in this journey! Now I pass this blog off to you…
So let me tell you a story…
Fifteen years ago I graduated with a degree in Elementary Education with an emphasis in urban education. While the 2 + 2 component of my job didn’t necessarily excite me, I fell in love with my role as a mentor. My favorite students were the most troubled kids. At the age of ten they were already labeled. I embraced the challenge of gaining their trust and acceptance. I made it my mission to build their self-esteem, which in turn built their desire to rise above those negative labels.
I left the classroom to raise my own three children, which was a job in itself. We had identical twin daughters when our son was just 25 months old. Our house was chaos and I worked hard to maintain my composure and set good examples.
In 2011, my husband invited me to attend the movie premier of Mitch Albom’s Have a Little Faith. Craig saw it as a good networking opportunity for his business. I saw it as an opportunity to meet my very favorite writer, Mitch Albom. His work had never failed to inspire me.
That night I met an adorable young blonde named Kelly. Both of our respective men were off mingling elsewhere while we stood waiting patiently. We struck up a conversation that was easy and real. Eventually our dates returned. I introduced her to Craig, and she introduced me to Matthew Stafford – professional Quarterback of the Detroit Lions. She was delightful all on her own, and meeting him was a bonus.
I was getting restless at home. The kids no longer needed me as much and I was getting bored with my role as a housewife. I knew I needed another challenge, but was feeling lost – I couldn’t find any real direction. I considered going back to school to get my counseling degree since that was what I loved most about teaching, but couldn’t imagine going back to such structured hours since I had become accustomed to a flexible schedule. I decided to keep my ears open and started putting feelers out. I trusted that if I paid close enough attention, my next job would find me.
And that’s exactly what happened.
Last February, I got a phone call from a friend. “There’s something coming to Detroit and I think you’re going to want in on it.”
“What is it?” I asked.
“Kids and music,” he said, knowing that I speak kids fluently and love music completely. That was all it took. A few weeks later I was on the phone with Phil Gilley, CEO and Co-Founder of Notes for Notes: a non-profit organization that builds, equips, and staffs after-school recording studios packed with guitars, drums, keys/synths, DJ gear, digital music stations and full recording studios offering youth completely FREE access to explore, create, and record music.
After learning about the program and seeing a Nashville Notes for Notes studio in action, I was all in. So back to work I went inspired to make a difference yet again, only this time the stakes were higher. It was now my job to impact our small, but mighty, not-for-profit organization; to aid in the comeback of a beast of a city known as Detroit; and to help young artists in the D discover their musical talents and pursue their dreams.
I’ve worked hard for the past year with Notes for Notes, and today it paid off as I sat in the audience of my first PRESS CONFERENCE:
- A press conference led by Mitch Albom, my favorite writer.
- A press conference made possible by the generous Million Dollar donation of Matthew Stafford, professional Quarterback of the Detroit Lions, and his now fiancé Kelly Hall.
- A press conference to announce a 10 Million Dollar revitalization plan to re-open The Lipke Community Center in Detroit with the additions of new educational programming, a series of outdoor athletic fields and an indoor practice facility.
- A press conference full of eager and hopeful youth who are thrilled to have a safe place to go after school as opposed to the dangerous streets of Detroit.
- A press conference to announce the first home of a Notes for Notes Studio in Detroit for kids who are definitely hoping for more rap and hip-hop than country, but told me they’d take whatever they could get
Once again I root for the underdogs – a community of kids in need of positive relationships. This time I’m surrounded by some of the most amazing leaders in the city, including Mayor Duggan. Mitch Albom’s announcement of the Notes for Notes partnership was full of respect and enthusiastic excitement – the same excitement we feel about partnering with him and Matthew Stafford. It was an amazing full-circle moment that I’ll never forget.
I now have a new direction and full credit goes to Notes for Notes – an organization so incredible that I have no choice but to work hard and have a little faith.